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Opposition to protest at AU Summit


ABC & BNP suppoters joined together at Ha- Abia on Wednesday (2)Billy Ntaote

ABOUT 200 opposition youths left Lesotho for South Africa last night for the 25th African Union (AU) Summit underway in Sandton, South Africa to protest over Lesotho’s “deteriorating” security tension.

According to the Basotho National Party (BNP) Spokesperson, Machesetsa Mofomobe, the All Basotho Convention (ABC), BNP and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) youths went to SA aboard two buses after securing a permit from the South African Metro Police to stage their demonstration on the side-lines of the AU summit.

The summit is scheduled to run from 7 to 15 June 2015.

He said the aim of the protests was to bring government’s “failure to guarantee the safe return of our leaders” to the attention of the African heads of state.

This comes after former premier and ABC leader Thomas Thabane, his BNP and RCL counterparts; Thesele ‘Maseribane and Keketso Rantšo sought refuge in South Africa on 11, 13 and 26 May respectively, alleging they had been alerted of a plot to kill them by renegade Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) members — an accusation government has since denied.

This was coupled by the fatal shooting of prominent Maseru businessman Thabiso Tšosane on 14 May 2015 in Ha Thetsane as well as the “abduction” detention and trial of several LDF members.

Mr Mofomobe told the Sunday Express yesterday they intended to bring attention to Lesotho’s “security challenges” and call for the continental bloc to take action.

“We want to highlight our plight to the AU. There will also be someone representing the AU to whom we are going to hand our petition,” he said.

“We have also been lobbying, through our leaders who are in South Africa, a number of African countries for our issues to be addressed at the summit.”

Mr Mofomobe said the demonstration was bound to take place since “the youths would be demonstrating in a country where police do not arbitrarily change permits and frustrate democratic ways of seeking change”.

This was in reference to the police’s decision to re-schedule the opposition youths’ protest march in Maseru on Tuesday.

“The key issue in our message to the AU is the fact that the problems we are dealing with in Lesotho amount to terrorism,” Mr Mofomobe added.

“We also have an army that cannot be brought under civilian authority and continues to commit human rights violations.”

He continued: “We are concerned that the SADC (Southern African Development Community) mediation efforts that brought (SA) Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as a facilitator failed to address our security concerns.

“It seems government is intent on crushing dissenting voices through the use of force.”


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